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Everyone should take a solo trip…at least once!

Hey my loves! So because I just recently went away to South Beach, I did a survey on  www.instagram.com about solo travel!  I was so disappointed that a whopping 67% of you would NOT travel alone. Solo travel is like the best thing ever!

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I’ve made some wonderful friends traveling…that I still talk to today…

So I am here to give you some pros about traveling solo and tips on how to make your solo vacation a success!

Listen, I love a group vacation. But we all know if the vibe and dynamics are not there, group vacations can be ..hmmm…

TEDIOUS!  COSTLY! SOMETIMES, A WASTE OF TIME!

I’ll give you a couple of examples.  We used to take lots of family vacations together.  Ranging in age from 3 to 82.  One year we all went to Florida.  About 10-12 of us.  When it came to going out to eat, it never occurred to us to go out to eat with our respective family units and then meet up afterwards for whatever activity.

We basically spent more time deciding where we were going, then actually enjoying each other’s company.  And then many restaurants couldn’t handle our group, so we wasted a lot of time deciding and not doing.  

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Deciding on a meal….alone…

There’s also the group vacation you take with a group of girlfriends or guys.  Right? Who’s tired? Who didn’t bring enough to wear? Who is a picky eater? Who is counting pennies?  I mean the list is endless. 

And the reality is hanging out with your friends back home for a few hours is V E R Y different than spending an entire week on vacation together.  I’ve only had two vacations with friends that were MEMORABLE!  Out of many.

Hence, why I L O V E solo trips!  Here are my top 5 reasons why I like traveling alone: 

  1. You can do W H A T E V E R fancies you.  Eat when you want, sleep when you want, sightsee what and when you want.
  2. You can have the room all to yourself. And if you meet someone and want to bring them back – you MOST definitely can (hey, it happens!)
  3. You don’t have to share your clothes, swimsuits or toiletries or money! (We all have that one friend!)
  4. You don’t have to split the bill evenly even when you just had a salad or a drink.  LOL.
  5. You don’t have to do anything – you can lay on a beach, listening to your tunes, reading, meditating, napping, without having to engage in mindless chatter.  Silence can be golden at times, something we don’t enjoy enough of.solotravel3-e1529080428197.jpg

Here are 5 tips for making your solo trip a success:

  1. Before you leave do some research (ask friends, read blogs, etc.) about some things you should do while there or places to see.  Or just wing it and explore!
  2. Make sure you pack a book, magazine and journal – if you feel self conscious about being alone, these are always good props to have when dining solo or hanging on beach solo – makes you look occupied and/or important. LOL. You can always use the journal to write about the experiences you’re having.
  3. Don’t take drinks from strangers.  LOL, no but seriously, don’t.  This is how people go missing and get trafficked. I’m real serious.
  4. If you’re paranoid like me because you watch too many crime shows – DON’T walk around alone at night or through dark alleys.  Stay in well lit areas around lots of people.  I mean you wouldn’t walk through dark alleys at home, right?
  5. Trust your intuition when it comes to meeting people.  I hung out with some guys at the https://fontainebleau.com/  in Miami and their vibe was so chill and laid back versus the guy who approached me at the door.  He kept insisting and coming over inviting us to their bed (by the pool that is) and I was just like nahh! We’re good.  They could have been perfectly fine, but I wasn’t trying to find out otherwise.
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People watching is my favorite hobby when I travel solo.

Anyway, I think EVERYONE should take a solo trip or two in their lifetime.  It’s a great way to spend some time alone with yourself and get more comfortable in your skin. It’s a practice in being present.

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This was actually one of my best group vacations…but they left first…and I spent an entire day in my own company…it was wonderful!

There is nothing more grounding (I think) than spending a day alone at the beach or sitting at an outdoor cafe  – you are more in tuned with everything and everyone around you because you’re not distracted by friends and chatter.  Listen, I love my friends, but I also love my own company.  

So go ahead, book that solo trip ASAP! and then tell me all about it.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!

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♥LolaUncorked

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Live your best life….now…and let others live theirs!

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Hi my loves!  I am back!  My quick little trip to Miami was fantastic!  I can’t say enough about South Beach.  There’s just something about that town. I know people are like “Oh God, bitches go to Miami and this is all they talk about for months!” Well for good reason I think!  

Has it changed over the course of my years visiting? Absolutely! But, I still love it.  I love that everything and anything goes in Miami. I was there for two nights and I have to say I made sure to enjoy every second of it. 

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Welcome to Miami….

I remember about 15 years ago, (Yes I am aging myself, but who gives a shit? Not I!!!), Miami was a lot more BOU-gee than today!  85% of the people down there were fit and beautiful and took lots of care in their appearance. 

Many locals got to mingle with international tourists and if you didn’t go with some kind of bank you weren’t going to have the same experience! (of course, guys this was MY experience, but I would love to hear about yours)

People were so put together and beautiful that people watching was a sort of soft porn.  Like really!  From the bartenders to the servers to the hosts at the restaurants to the random guy riding on a bike down Ocean Drive – they were all fit! 

Even the 77 year old I met like 15 years ago was dashing and debonair with his white hair and white suits!  Oh! and let’s not forget the COPS!  I think it must be a requirement that you’re fit and good looking to become a cop in South Beach.

Anyway, I am a people watcher so I loved watching all these beautiful people waking by – back and forth, back and forth.  They reminded me of the stingrays swimming back and forth, back and forth in Belize.  No lie!

Even though all the eye candy was fun back then, I love SOBE more now.  Why?  I love it because NOBODY!, I mean N O B O D Y seems to feel self conscious in Miami.  Nobody seems to have any hangups about their bodies or clothing or who they are with or going solo.   

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People watching…. Not really but I like this pic….LOL

It feels to me as if people of all genders, ages, races, and sizes go to SOBE and transform themselves.

Women and men strut around with such confidence in their wigs and heels, coverups and bright ass speedos,  young and old as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

Even better is the fact that nobody seems to judge.  I can sit in front of Mangos (MY FAVORITE PLACE!!!)  www.mangos.com/miami/ and just watch as the crowds walk by for hours.

SOBE is the place to go if you want to get lost for a few days.  If you want to disappear and just breathe.  Pretend to be someone else or just be yourself.  It doesn’t matter.  

I stayed at the Whitelaw Hotel www.whitelawhotel.com/‎.  It was my second time there.  Located on Collins and 8th.  A block from Wet Willies  (not a fan but Hey! Call A CAB!)  and the News Cafe – Gianni Versace’s breakfast spot and a couple blocks from Mangos (. whitelaw3

The hotel is cute and swanky.  They belong to the South Beach Group https://www.southbeachgroup.com/en/home/ and sponsor a free happy hour from 6-7pm everyday in all their hotels. I would definitely stay there again.

But anyway, Ocean Drive is not the only place to people watch.  You can do it all over SOBE, even on Collins Avenue where you can find any number of cute bars and restaurants with outdoor seating like the Bacon Bitch   https://www.baconbitch.com/   which sponsors a fine menu of bacon inspired dishes and asks you if you’re the Main Bitch? Side Bitch? Naked Bitch? Extra Bitch? and several other bitches?  

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Which bitch are you?

I’m Extraaaaaa…lol…Hey! Extra is what got us into the Fountainbleau pool party on Saturday.  As I dressed my daughter asked, “Mom, You’re wearing that to a pool?”  

I was like, “We are not going to a pool, we are going to the Fountainbleau!” and so I rolled up in there like the bou-gee chick I totally am NOT! but it got us a bed and some drinks and MORE importantly we met some pretty awesome guys who shared their bed and their bottles with us.  

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#bathrooomselfi @thefountainbleau

A smorgasbord of people from all walks of life intertwined with local SOBE-ers and Floridians just soaking up the sun, eating good food, and living their best life.

It’s a skip, hop and $250 (approx.) airplane ride away from the cold, dirty streets of NJ and it literally is like stepping into another world.

So if you haven’t been, please go check it out! And if you have let me know when you want to go back!  I’m in there.  

Because living your best life doesn’t require a lot.  Only requires the thing that you love or moves you or gives you joy -anything from sleeping a weekend away watching Netflix and drinking wine, or doing having a self care day, or reading a favorite book for hours. Or visiting distant places.

Living your best life is one in which you get joy from the little and big things and you take care to not deprive others from living theirs. So tell me how are you living your best life?

liveyourbestlife

 

LolaUncorked♥

 

 

 

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Couldn’t think of a title for this blog..lol..enjoy!

Hey Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  So recently I reconnected with an old friend from high school. When I was a freshman he was a senior and I was completely smitten.  

I mean the biggest crush, but I behaved like all boys and girls who have a crush.  crushInstead of trying to actually get him to like me, I probably did everything in my power to annoy the shit out of him.  LOL.  High school crushes!  

Anyway, not that it mattered after all I was raised by a single Dominican mom and so that’s all I could do!  Crush on him!

Plus, it didn’t help that I was the latest bloomer ever and this guy looked like such a grownup to me.  He didn’t even look my way while in school. Though he will insist he did. 

High school…this is what he had to work with …but look at that hair!!

Fast forward few years later.  I walk into a club, all grown up (well, 19 and yes I had a fake ID) and as I walked across the room, who did I see? Yes. Him! My high school crush. My heart skipped a beat!  

 

Now, I was still in the process of blooming – apparently my body had not caught up with all the other girls.  But I happened to be coming from a fashion show (local) and was all dolled up and I felt very grown up. 

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Trying to bloom..

Isn’t it amazing what a mask (make up, hair and clothes) will do to your confidence?  I strutted into that club like I was still on the runway. 

And when our eyes met, instead of rushing over and swooning at his feet (like I wanted to), I looked at him coyly (I don’t know where I learned to), gave him my best smile and walked to the bar.

Anyway, this is not the point of this blog.  We hung out a couple of times and shortly after we each went our way.  He wasn’t ’bout that life back then and the girls who had fully bloomed were apparently no competition for me.  

In all fairness, I wasn’t ’bout that life either.  I was just starting to spread my wings, test waters, and break rules at home.  (You guys know that doesn’t go over well if your mom’s Dominican!)

The point of this blog is that over the years we reconnected a few times via social media.  He no longer lived in area.  And life had gone on for the both of us.  Marriages, kids, divorces, work, etc.

Anyway we just recently reconnected AGAIN!  And we happen to both be single but living thousands of miles and an ocean apart.  It’s been exciting talking to him and building this mental relationship via texting and WhatsApp.  Let me tell you cyberspace and social media are great for creating the perfect person in your head.  I mean I imagine him larger than life still.

But I also realize that cyberspace is just that – cyberspace.  It’s kind of not reality.  No actually it’s not reality.  So I was talking to a friend and we were saying how I could be completely disappointed when I meet him again. He could be a totally different person (personality wise).

I won’t lie I mean it’s been over 20 years since I’ve seen this guy. I was a kid back then and as far as I am concerned, he was unattainable and LARGER THAN LIFE! 

Now, I’m wondering if I’ll have the same reaction when I see him or will I see him and be like “Oh, what was the big deal?”

When I was younger he seemed so – BIG! (get your minds out the gutters..LOL ).  He seemed so worldly and impressive and strong.  I felt young and naive, like a little girl.

But as I’ve grown older and I’ve had so many different experiences and been exposed to so much, I’ve learned a lot and have raised the bar when it comes to dating.  I know I am not so easily impressed anymore.  It takes more than a meal and a drink to catch and keep my attention.  

When I was younger, I had a certain “type” I gravitated towards, they had to be tall, dark and handsome (what a stupid cliche). And all superficial.  Again you live and learn. 

Now, I am okay with a guy that is not so tall or not that fit as long as he brings other important qualities to the table like chivalry and mental stimulation.  Someone who treats me and others well!  Kindness goes a long way.

I am not sure what I expect when I meet this guy again in the flesh, but chances are he won’t seem as larger than life as he did back then.  But then again I am sure I won’t seem so either.

Thanks for stopping by, loves! Hope you enjoyed!!

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Fully bloomed!

DISCLAIMER: I don’t have any new photos of me because my photographer/slash friend just doesn’t love me anymore…LOL…no but really I know you guys are so visual so I am working on them! (I don’t know why but I love disclaimers!)

LolaUncorked♥

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We are raising (insert 8 letter word – starts with A and has two Ss)…

Disclaimer: As you will be able to tell this blog was written on Friday.  Due to my daughter’s baby shower it just sat waiting to be revised. Hence, the Happy F-ing Friday! LOL

This week I was completely enchanted (good word) when:

  1. I walked into a bar and someone who follows my blog came up to me and was like “What the hell?!?! You haven’t posted a blog since May 10!!” It was May 15th.  She continued on to say that she went onto the blog at work looking forward to a new post and was totally disappointed not to find one. (Insert tear here).

   MY blog guys!  She looked forward to MY blog.  I feel like this officially makes me a     blogger!!!!blogger

2. I was speaking with a co-worker who I invited to read my blog back when I started.  She never mentioned it.  After a seriously rough day at work (I recognize I am blessed, but still it was rough) she said, “OMG, Ms. Formentin!” She still calls me that making me feel all old and shit.

Anyway, she was like “I have been reading and following your blog and I love it!

“I especially like the one about the guy with the socks.” LOL.  She said it is so relatable and “I love how you express yourself.”  (insert second tear here)

Both of these made my day and it reminded me that I need to be more consistent with my blog.  And so here I am!  Because it really is all about connecting with people.  The images, the followers, the comments – THOSE are all secondary, maybe even third on the list of why and how I want to grow this thing.

Anyway, so here I am!  Happy FUCKIN Friday!  Yes, HAPPY FUCKIN Friday! What a week!!

I need to talk to you guys about our kids! Kids growing up now. Little boys and girls. The little monsters that we are creating!

As you all know I am educator.  I am in my 13th year of teaching.  Three years longer than I originally anticipated.

I’ve taught 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.

I’ve taught in urban and suburban schools.

Over the span of my thirteen years in teaching, I have witnessed what I describe as an epidemic decline in the integrity of our children.  This is manifesting itself as a severe lack of empathy for others. I know I sound dramatic, but that’s because this current situation is serious.

Every year, educators all over the world, face behavioral challenges in their classroom.  Author included.  However, I have never experienced some of the issues like the ones this year.  Challenges is definitely an understatement.

These kids are downright rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate and mean.  BULLIES!!! (Another disclaimer: Not all of them.  A select few.) .

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There’s actually a book about it!

They have no fear of authority.  They talk back.  The mock.  They mimic.  They hit.  They gossip.  They walk out of classrooms.  Talk about teachers to their face.   They want to have the last word.

OMG! I am a grown ass woman and let me tell you I still fear my mom.  These kids do not care.  And they will tell you.

  • I don’t care about my grades.
  • I do it because I want to.
  • I do it because I can.
  • She’s so annoying and ugly. (Talking about a sub)
  • You’re a ________________ (insert N word here). (Yes, the “N” word!!! At the 4th grade level.)
  • This is boring.
  • I just want to go home.

The responses run the gamut.  I’ll tell you what, had I ever responded this way to any adult and it got back to my mom, you best believe I would not be here today.  Back then it was a community affair – that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” village.jpeg

My brothers grew up in the Dominican Republic.  I remember one time they were acting up on the way home – I don’t know what.  But I do remember that by the time they got home, my uncle had heard about it and he took a branch right to them in the alleyway.  Yup.  Community affair.

The crazy thing is I can’t even blame the kids today because as we all know this is LEARNED behavior.  Kids are born with a clean slate.  Yes, some traits are inherited but we also know most traits are learned.

Who are the real culprits here? Parents!  Parents in combination with technology are single- handedly ruining this generation of children.  And I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better.

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Put the technology down and TALK to your kid!

As parents we are so wrapped up in whatever it is we wrap ourselves up in – careers, fitness, homes, making money, travel, socializing – that we forget that our single most important job is – OUR KIDS!  If you’ve been blessed to have them.  Raising them, loving them, protecting them.

Clothing and putting a roof over their heads does not make us parents.  Loving alone  does not make us parents.  Making sure our kids go to school does not make us parents.

Parenting involves talking to our kids and engaging in conversation.  Listening attentively without the phone in our hand.  Being present.  Listening to both the spoken and unspoken words.   Modeling behavior like speaking properly, helping the elderly, volunteering, kindness, dressing age appropriately. The list is endless.

We think that because kids are absorbed in their technology that they are not paying attention to us, when in reality, I feel like they are way more aware.  It’s like the brain is soaking up the conversations around them and being filed for later use.

Have you ever had a conversation with let’s say your best friends while your child is playing on an iPad or smart phone nearby?  You think your kid is completely absorbed paying you no mind.

A few weeks later your kid will ask something like, “Who got arrested?” or “Oh, like daddy’s friend who went to jail?” You’re like mouth-wide-open because you swore at the time he wasn’t paying attention.

THIS IS TRUE STORY.  My grandson Max did this.  He will bring things up a week or two later that he subconsciously listened to and stored.

It’s the same thing with behavior.  You may think that when you are cursing out the salesperson because they were rude or disrespectful or just having a bad day, that you’re teaching your kid to defend himself, when what you’re actually modeling is to be rude and disrespectful.  If you’re not explaining why you are doing what you’re doing, and this is your pattern, it becomes their pattern.  kidadults

What do you think happens when you call that kid’s teacher and lie that the child was sick and that’s why he didn’t finish his work?  But in reality he was fine.  The child learns to lie, to make excuses, to not take responsibility for anything because his parents got his back.

Your children spend a good portion of their day in the classroom with teachers, other adults and other kids.

There is nothing uglier to me than that kid that E V E R Y O N E knows because of his shitty behavior.  Parents THIS is NOT cute.  Start modeling the behavior that you want to see.  You want an honest child, don’t lie.  You want chivalrous young men, open doors.  You want a classy daughter, don’t be twerking and then posting that shyt on social media. PARENTS BE WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO BE

Look I am not and haven’t been a perfect parent.  We all make mistakes. But as we grow older and we see this overwhelming inundation of technology and the effects it is having on our children, we need to be more mindful of the things we say and do in front of our children.

Because once that foundation is rooted, it becomes twice as difficult to undo.

Just don’t be the parent with the a*@hole kid!

This is one of my favorite quotes about kids! We have no idea how we damage our kids…

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
― Mitch AlbomThe Five People You Meet in Heaven  

LolaUncorked♥

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Because you are worthy and deserving..

Hey! Guys and Gals!  Happy Friday! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  Happy long weekend! Happy almost end of the school year to my fellow teachers everywhere! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

However, that light for many teachers is a dim and “POOR” light.  Summer is a struggle for lots of teachers.  Even teachers who set up summer bank accounts somehow manage to run out of funds two weeks before September.

Recently, I was thinking of my impending summer break and my bank account.  And you now how that is: One thought led to another.  I thought of how much money I needed for summer bills, then to having to dip into the little savings I have, to finally thoughts of the realization how “poor” I really will be and should stick to peanut butter and jelly.

And like all crazy folks I started thinking about why I didn’t have more. Why can’t I be rich? How does so and so have so much making less?  Right? We all do it.  Am I not good enough, smart enough, savvy enough to have more?  We start thinking there is something wrong or some reason why we are unworthy and undeserving of having more.  Perhaps we are repaying a karma. Who knows?

But, why do we believe ourselves unworthy and undeserving off all the wonderful things we want?

Why do we believe we don’t deserve that awesome house? or job? or car?

Why do we believe we don’t deserve to travel to our hearts content? Or get paid what we believe we’re really worth at work?

Why do we believe that we don’t deserve a fantastic relationship with a wonderful loving partner who takes care of us mentally, physically and spiritually?

I’ll tell you why – because we live in a society with a scarcity mindset or a scarcity mentality.

Many people have what’s known as a scarcity mindset or scarcity mentality. In the simplest terms, the scarcity mindset is the belief that there will never be enough — whether it’s money, food, emotions or something else entirely — and as a result, your actions and thought stem from a place of lack. 

https://www.debtroundup.com/scarcity-mindset-keeping-you-poor/ Jul 16, 2014

Currently, only 3.5 million (or 3.5%) of the 100 million households in America are considered wealthy.  As of 2016, there were 43.1 million people living in poverty in the U.S.  That leaves approximately 53 million Americans that are supposedly “ok” financially.

Of course, this is based on a poverty line of $25K for a family of 4.  I mean can even one person live on $25K a year? Probably not, making that 53 million totally skewed.

Anyway, back to this scarcity mentality.  With all this said, yes we live in a society where we hoard whatever we have or come into because we are afraid there isn’t enough to go stephen-covey-570749around. We don’t care if in that hoarding we are taking away from someone else because it is every man for himself in this country.

 

What we don’t realize is that our thoughts create our reality.  If we believe we don’t have enough we will attract not having enough.   Our universe and everything around us is energy.  Our thoughts are energy.  Our words are energy.  Emotions are energy.  From science class we know energy  makes things happen.

Energy lights up a bulb.  Energy makes a car move.  Energy makes our pulse quicken and our heart pump faster.  Energy makes our thoughts turn into reality because what we focus on is what we manifest.

When we think we don’t have enough, we begin to behave as if we don’t have enough.

Folks!  Listen up: There is more than enough food, money, and love to go around!!!!!  It’s a matter of thinking it into existence!!!

Think about this scenario: Have you ever been up at night stressing over your bills and bank account?  Maybe you stay up all night thinking about it.  Tossing and turning. You lose sleep.

You are so exhausted in the morning you might oversleep and get to work late – getting yourself in trouble with your boss.  Your tone for the day has unfortunately been set and you keep falling deeper and deeper.

You’re so cranky you snap at co-workers or clients (maybe killing a deal).  You are so exhausted you can’t focus or complete a project – getting yourself in further trouble with your boss. 

All this negative energy continues impacting your performance (over time) and before you know it, you’re let go and NOW you really are in lack because you’re not getting a paycheck.

Listen, this is an extreme, but not far-fetched.  This is how our thoughts create our reality.  You think so much about scarcity and lack eventually you really end up lacking. However, this whole scenario could have and would have played out differently if our thoughts about it and reaction were positive.

But wait, know that these thoughts and feelings are not rooted in money itself.  They are rooted in feelings of unworthiness.  Feeling that we don’t deserve EVERYTHING we desire because of a bunch of baggage we have been carrying around for years.

If you want to get all the things you desire, first and foremost, be grateful for everything you have because at the end of the day someone has less – way less!

Believe that you already have whatever it is you are wanting. Act as if you already have it by giving thanks for it.  Visualize having it, feel the feelings of joy of owning it.

This is not only for material things. This works for that relationship you want.  It works for emotional and mental health.  Speak it into existence.  Don’t worry about how or when its coming just be thankful that it’s already here.

This sounds like mumbo-jumbo but the energy and thoughts you create when you are feeling happy and abundant attract more things that will bring you those feelings.

There is enough to go around and the moment you think it, see it, speak it, it is yours.

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♥LolaUncorked